Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is the resurrection fact or legend? Hmm. That’s not just a good question. That is the question.
Sure, the resurrection of Jesus is one of those things most people say takes faith. But the historical grounds for believing that event are remarkably good.
So today, let’s dust for divine fingerprints in the historical evidence and ask a few questions along the way.
First, the burial of Jesus in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb is one of the earliest and best-established facts about Jesus. Everyone in Jerusalem knew where Jesus was crucified and buried. It was no secret.
Since the burial site was well known, how would it be possible for anyone to claim the resurrection of a dead man if the body was still interred in the tomb?
…Unless the tomb was empty.
The empty tomb was first discovered by a group of women. Interesting, considering the testimony of women in those days was deemed worthless. Women had zero credibility as witnesses; they weren’t even allowed to testify in a court of law.
Why would the New Testament writers create an embarrassing narrative where women first discovered the empty tomb, rather than men?
…Unless women were the first to find the tomb empty.
After His death, Jesus was seen alive by a long list of eyewitnesses. Not just once but many times. Not just to one person but to different persons. Not just to individuals but to groups (even more that 500 people at one time). Not just at one place but at many places. Not just to believers but to unbelievers, skeptics, and enemies.
Why were none of those eyewitness accounts ever debunked?
…Unless they were real and reliable.
All of Jesus’ disciples claimed to eyewitness His resurrection. And even under intense pressure, none of them ever denied it. Not one. Not once. Despite their penchant for fear and disbelief. Christ’s bodily resurrection became the centerpiece of their message. And each of them, except John, died a martyr’s death for the Gospel.
Why would Jesus’ diverse group of disciples willingly live lives of deprivation, ridicule, and torture, and suffer execution for a lie they created?
…Unless it wasn’t a lie. But the truth.
Logical questions, right?
But I think the most compelling evidence for the Resurrection is found in the lives of those who encountered the risen Christ:
- The resurrection turned Peter’s denial into his declaration.
- Thomas’ stubborn doubt turned into unshakable faith.
- Jesus’ cynical half-brother, James, was put to death as a leader of the church.
- Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher.
- Once cowardly disciples boldly proclaimed Christ’s resurrection in the very same city He was executed.
Why? …because the Resurrection is a radically transforming reality. Even today.
Ravi Zacharias says it well:
“The resurrection is the peg on which
the coat of Christendom hangs.”
And here’s another thing:
Christ’s resurrection is proof and preview of our own. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Because He lives.
Did a miracle happen that Easter morning? I say, yup…
…For I know that my Redeemer lives.
What do you say? Leave a comment.